Archive for November 2013

Piano Chords – Complete

Piano KeyboardIt has been almost a month since I started the “Learn anything in 20 hours” challenge. As you may recall, I decided to start with something fairly simple.

Since I’m already pretty comfortable with playing the melody on the piano, I have tried over the years to expand my skills to include the left hand. I never had any success until I stumbled on the idea of chords a few years ago.

I played around with chords for quite a while, and I understood the concept just fine. It was getting my fingers to find the right notes fast enough to accompany the melody that I struggled with. By the time I finally gave up, I had mastered only four chords, C, F, G and D, and that’s where I left it until this last month.

I decided to put the “20 Hours” idea to the test by learning all of the major chords, even the ones I was pretty sure I’d never use, like Gb, Ab, Db and Eb. It took a couple of weeks, but suddenly they began to click and I found out I wasn’t struggling any more. I made a point of always practicing at night since the book explains that motor skills learned within four hours of sleeping are learned and retained more quickly.

After the first couple of weeks, I have to admit that I slacked off a bit. Still, only practicing every other day or so, I began to pick up speed and confidence until I decided to tackle the minor chords. Surprisingly, I didn’t need to “learn” the minor chords. It was such a simple adjustment from the major chords that it only took two evenings of practice for me to feel satisfied that I knew them well enough for my purposes.

For the last week I have been playing Christmas Carols and folk songs with varying degrees of difficulty. The easier arrangements are hardly challenging at all now and I can play both melody and chords at almost the same speed as melody alone. The harder Christmas book is still a bit of a challenge, but I never would have attempted these chords before.

I am thrilled with the progress I have made in just a month. Although I didn’t closely track my time, I know I didn’t come close to the full 20 hours. However, I have met my objectives and feel that I can declare that this experiment was a success. Now I’m ready to move on to challenge number two… drawing.